Illinois high school baseball pitch count rule being mulled

CHICAGO (AP) Officials with the Illinois High School Association is considering a rule that would put a maximum on the number of pitches that can be thrown by a high school baseball player.

The proposed rule also would set forth a minimum amount of rest, The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/22pJTe6 ) reported.

A limit of 105 pitches is favored by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Preston Wolin, who is on the IHSA's sports medicine advisory committee.

''We're facing an explosion of injuries in youth baseball, and I think that the IHSA definitely has a role to play,'' Wolin said.

Wolin said his committee will present the pitch count idea in August to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association, with hopes of getting feedback and an endorsement. A final say on the rule will come from the IHSA board.

Palatine High School's Paul Belo, who is president of the baseball coaches association, expects that the idea will be a hard sell and that the IHSA should obtain data on pitch counts from teams throughout the state.

A recent rule in Alabama has a cap of 120 pitches. Every pitch has to be recorded by a school and its opponent beginning next year, with a neutral official also keeping record. The numbers will get sent electronically to the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

A school will be fined $250 if it lets a player pitch too much or get too little rest, and the school will be required to forfeit the game in which the player pitched.

''It's all centered around the safety of the kid's arm,'' said Greg Brewer, the Alabama association's director of officials. ''When the doctors say this is good for the kids' health, you don't go against that.''

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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